Dropping Out

General Discussion for SMART Scholarship Recipients

Dropping Out

Postby ar4534 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:31 pm

What is the quickest and most efficient way to drop out of the SMART program?
Can I do this during my senior year?
Is there any way they can stop me?
Thanks!
ar4534
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby ar45344 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:33 pm

I got an offer at a great company ^ thats the reason why I want to drop out.
ar45344
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby word_to_the_wise » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:31 pm

ar4534 wrote:What is the quickest and most efficient way to drop out of the SMART program?
Can I do this during my senior year?
Is there any way they can stop me?
Thanks!


No they can't stop you but they can make your pay back what you received! Depending on the school, I doubt the offer you got makes up for the new job offer.
word_to_the_wise
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:32 pm

ar4534 wrote:What is the quickest and most efficient way to drop out of the SMART program?
Can I do this during my senior year?
Is there any way they can stop me?
Thanks!


No they can't stop you but they can make your pay back what you received! Depending on the school, I doubt the offer you got makes up for the cost of repaying the tuition and stipend.
Guest
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby google_recruiter » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:03 pm

Just send them (LMI, or whoever is running the SMART Program Office these days) and email. Congratulations.
google_recruiter
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby unsolicited_advice » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:34 am

Breaking a contract for such a self-serving reason isn't a super great look. Considering you'll also have to pay back the SMART money, I'd say unless it's a once in a lifetime offer from your actual dream job and you had a real shit time working for your SF, just serve your commitment. Your personal integrity is probably worth more.

I'll tell you the same thing to my buddy who, a week after being hired to a nice paying job at a large tech company, was immediately offered a little higher paying, little nicer job at a competing tech company; tell them you've made a commitment, but you may be interested in a future position at the company in a few years. They'll be disappointed, but honestly probably impressed with your honor and sense of commitment, and probably keep you on record for future job openings.

Of course, he didn't take my advice at all, and went ahead and burned that bridge with the first company. Maybe it bites him in the ass sometime in the future, maybe it never does, I think it's a pretty shitty way to behave either way. YMMV
unsolicited_advice
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby CSMajor » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:39 pm

You made a commitment. I'm being hit pretty hard by the numbers too. I'm seeing everyone around me getting 120k starting pay when I'm only getting 47k.

At the end of the day you're making more with tuition+stipend+starting salary than the offer you were received.

Be grateful for what the program has done for you.
CSMajor
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby i_left_and_i_am_fine » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:30 pm

ar4534, do you. Be great. Don't let others pressure you into conforming to an action based on their perceived sense of duty, or right and wrong. If you being great involves you leaving the program for a dream job, good luck to you and congratulations.
i_left_and_i_am_fine
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby we_paid_for_you » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:03 am

Crunch the numbers first. For me, it made financial sense to leave and pay back the debt. My SF management openly told me they were going to pay me over $20k less than every other person in my role. The amount they were paying others was still less than market value, but that part mattered less to me as long as everyone in the same job was equal. They acknowledged without hesitation that they thought my additional cut was justified because I went through SMART. They told me they wanted to make me "pay back" my debt. Well, mathematically, that's exactly what would have been happening, plus quite a bit of extra. It would have been as if I didn't get the scholarship in the first place and had paid everything out of pocket, then took a random pay cut as a penalty for getting another degree (I already had a well-paying job I liked before SMART, I could've just stayed there). I crunched the numbers vs my market value, and it made sense for me to leave because I would be in the black after three years (I didn't have a huge amount of debt to SMART, but still 6 figures).

But they will come for the money. And they will expect repayment in three years or less. You could get a loan from a reasonable financial institution and pay back SMART quickly, then pay back the loan on a longer time frame. But do the math with the salary for the new job and make sure it's worth it. And also keep in mind that most jobs look shiny and dreamy from the outside, but that is the phase where they are trying to advertise it to you, and the reality of the day-to-day work may not live up.

As for the moral judgment on this thread... everyone has a different experience, and a lot of people are trying to impose their experiences on you. SMART has a 10% rate of students who get royally screwed over (that is SMART's number not mine). I know of at least three others who ran into salary situations like mine, and SMART refused to lift a finger on behalf of any of them. I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of loyalty, and of sticking to commitments. But the thing is: loyalty is what happens when you treat people well, and then they stick with you through your rough times because they know you are both mutually committed to each others' well being in the long term. Loyalty is not telling people they signed a contract, so they can shut the hell up and swallow whatever they're served no matter what. There's a 90% chance your commitment phase will go well, and as a result of that luck you may feel entitled to pedantically spout condescending tomes about loyalty to people online, but there's a 10% chance you will be one of the ones who gets massively screwed. This risk should factor into your decision about the offer you have now, in addition to the math about the finances.

When I asked SMART to help me with a transfer after my management developed some seriously abusive behavior (again, they openly admitted they didn't care because I had a contract, the stuff they were doing was literally illegal), do you know what SMART said? This is a direct quote: "well, we paid for you." That's not an organization that is an equal participant in loyalty.

Like the previous poster said: "you do you."
we_paid_for_you
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby no_one_cares » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:16 pm

Also know that no one here truly cares about your or your debt. Take everything that is said here with a grain of salt and CRUNCH THE NUMBERS. If it isn't something you can pay off in 3 years, I highly suggest finding a financial institution who would cover you with a loan before making any final decisions.
no_one_cares
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby FormerSMART » Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:03 am

Ar4534 (and to anyone else thinking about dropping out),

I dropped out in 2013 after an extremely miserable experience at a USAF SF. I submitted my letter of resignation and withdrew from the program about 50% through my phase two experience. As has been echoed here, you need to crunch the numbers and be prepared for when they come knocking on your door for the debt. They can't stop you from resigning, but they can and will try to make you pay it all back, regardless of how you were treated or any circumstances.

I left in 2013 for the private sector and have not looked back. SMART placed me in a do-nothing acquisition position. Since I have left, I have been employed with the same company in an R&D division. I have had the chance to sit on the other side of the interview table now too and am quite familiar with how the hiring process generally works. This said, my opinion is you should feel free to ignore the comment about any higher loyalty or integrity and being "grateful." Looking out for you does not mean you are any less of a person than one who sticks with the program, questions the missed opportunity, and is possibly miserable for the duration of the commitment. No one has your interest in mind except yourself. This is a fact. There is nothing "grateful" about being potentially miserable in a SMART job while questioning your missed opportunity. There is nothing wrong about breaking the terms of the contract, as long as you understand the consequences (paying the money back).

If this is truly your dream job opportunity, don't rest your hope on telling them "I made a commitment but will be available in 3 years." After initial disappointment, the recruiter and hiring manager will move on without blinking an eye. They have an immediate need they need to fill now to continue business operations and to make money. They cannot wait for a hypothetical candidate that looks good on paper but honestly, don't know too much about. You can always hope the hiring manager keeps your resume for those few years, but the private sector moves fast. There is no guarantee of a job opening in the future, nor is there a guarantee the hiring manager will be in the same position.

I (and others) have said this on this forum before -- I am unsure of your SMART position responsibilities, but if it is anything like mine, you will need to be very conscious of keeping your skills up-to-date for the private sector. Most technical engineering jobs will do a technical interview and will want technical experience, especially if you've been employed for a few years. If you have been a PowerPoint or form-filling-out drone for the government, let your skills get rusty, and only have filled out DLA form 339's, this will possibly become a much larger hindrance to achieving your dream career than any perceived sense of employer-employee loyalty.

Understand the terms of the contract before you break it. If you can swing the consequences, don't be afraid to move on to bigger and better things.
FormerSMART
 

Re: Dropping Out

Postby Guest » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:54 pm

FormerSMART wrote:Ar4534 (and to anyone else thinking about dropping out),

I dropped out in 2013 after an extremely miserable experience at a USAF SF. I submitted my letter of resignation and withdrew from the program about 50% through my phase two experience. As has been echoed here, you need to crunch the numbers and be prepared for when they come knocking on your door for the debt. They can't stop you from resigning, but they can and will try to make you pay it all back, regardless of how you were treated or any circumstances.

I left in 2013 for the private sector and have not looked back. SMART placed me in a do-nothing acquisition position. Since I have left, I have been employed with the same company in an R&D division. I have had the chance to sit on the other side of the interview table now too and am quite familiar with how the hiring process generally works. This said, my opinion is you should feel free to ignore the comment about any higher loyalty or integrity and being "grateful." Looking out for you does not mean you are any less of a person than one who sticks with the program, questions the missed opportunity, and is possibly miserable for the duration of the commitment. No one has your interest in mind except yourself. This is a fact. There is nothing "grateful" about being potentially miserable in a SMART job while questioning your missed opportunity. There is nothing wrong about breaking the terms of the contract, as long as you understand the consequences (paying the money back).

If this is truly your dream job opportunity, don't rest your hope on telling them "I made a commitment but will be available in 3 years." After initial disappointment, the recruiter and hiring manager will move on without blinking an eye. They have an immediate need they need to fill now to continue business operations and to make money. They cannot wait for a hypothetical candidate that looks good on paper but honestly, don't know too much about. You can always hope the hiring manager keeps your resume for those few years, but the private sector moves fast. There is no guarantee of a job opening in the future, nor is there a guarantee the hiring manager will be in the same position.

I (and others) have said this on this forum before -- I am unsure of your SMART position responsibilities, but if it is anything like mine, you will need to be very conscious of keeping your skills up-to-date for the private sector. Most technical engineering jobs will do a technical interview and will want technical experience, especially if you've been employed for a few years. If you have been a PowerPoint or form-filling-out drone for the government, let your skills get rusty, and only have filled out DLA form 339's, this will possibly become a much larger hindrance to achieving your dream career than any perceived sense of employer-employee loyalty.

Understand the terms of the contract before you break it. If you can swing the consequences, don't be afraid to move on to bigger and better things.



Can you say specifically which facility this was?
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